In this issue

SPTA diversity updates

State associations are working hard for psychology.

By Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD, ABPP


As part of the website being revised, Alaska Psychological Association has its own diversity page that highlights the diversity among our members. In 2017, we are planning our diversity training; coordinating our training with the State, Provincial, and Territorial Psychological Association's annual membership meeting. During the meeting we plan to present our Cultural Humanitarian Award.


The diversity committee in collaboration with various community organizations hosted four gatherings, which provided an opportunity for discussions about diversity. In September 2016, Arkansas Psychological Association (ArPA), in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate, Ventanilla de Salud and Arkansas Hispanic Health Coalition, hosted an event, “Adapting to Life in Arkansas: Discussion with Local Professionals.” Topics discussed in Spanish included acculturation, mental health, education, legal issues, and deferred action for childhood arrivals. Participants included various Latino professionals and community members, as well as the Mexican Consular. The ArPA Diversity Committee organized a meeting with Little Rock's Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission, Little Rock's race relations taskforce in August 2016. The focus of the meeting was on issues related to police shootings, training of police officers, and the relationship between the community and police officers. In October 2016, the ArPA Diversity Committee presented on its events at the University of Central Arkansas Psychology and Counseling Diversity Summit.


We negotiated and partnered with two community mental health agencies in urban centers to provide greater education, training and career path opportunities for ethnic and linguistic minority psychology graduate students to treat and serve underserved multicultural urban families in an integrated behavioral/mental health model. We developed a bilingual/multilingual directory, through the effort of the EDTF University of Hartford Ambassador to provide culturally competent bilingual and multilingual mental health services to communities in the state. We awarded 13 EDTF mentoring scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students training in psychology. The mentoring scholarships afforded them with the opportunity to attend the annual Connecticut Psychological Association Convention 2016, provide networking opportunities, offer education, training, supervision and opportunities to present at conferences on various topics at the state and national levels.


The Hawaii Psychological Association, led by the diversity committee, held a diversity workshop for the year 2016. Wei-Jen Huang presented “Emotional Intelligence and Relationship Enhancement with Asian populations.”


The diversity committee continued to partner with student interns at St. Vincent's Hospital to provide monthly article summaries on topics of diversity. These summaries were submitted to Indiana Psychological Association's (IPA) Communications Committee, which were then distributed periodically to IPA's membership through IPA's “PsychBytes” e-mails that are sent out weekly. The diversity award continues to be a component of the IPA fall conference. This year, there was also a session during the conference on microagressions.


The Kentucky Psychological Association (KPA) board approved adding a permanent diversity interest section representative seat on the board. There have been listserv dialogues and contributions at board meetings. These topics have included recent immigration issues, racial justice and the murder of black people, and LGBT issues following the Pulse nightclub massacre. KPA's recent 2016 annual convention marked the sixth consecutive year that the association brought in a nationally recognized speaker to address cultural competency and diversity issues; Arthur C. Evans, PhD, was our keynote speaker. We hosted a panel of black psychologists in Kentucky to discuss “Racial Trauma among African-Americans.”


Maryland Psychological Association (MPA) established the Grady Dale Award for Outstanding Contributions to Diversity in Psychology. The first recipient was 2016 APA Diversity State Leadership Conference Diversity Liaison Jessica Floyd Alexander, PsyD. To increase the diversity of MPA membership, the diversity committee will continue its partnership with the early career psychologist committee and Maryland School Psychology Association.


In 2016, the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA) Board engaged in a cultural competency training. MPA plans to conduct a diversity audit to better understand the needs of its membership and to learn how the association can address these needs. The diversity audit can also provide MPA with demographic information, advocacy interests, and needs of the membership in order to further the regional and state legislative agenda of MPA.


Minnesota Psychological Association “First Friday” forum trainings and annual convention are required to include a diversity component. the Black history month Friday forum was on an African-American mental health issue, followed by an awards ceremony recognizing a black psychologist who has made a significant contribution to service or research in black psychology.


The Missouri Psychological Association (MOPA) Diversity Committee conducted a professional development workshop at the annual conference. Also, there was a workshop in September 2016 on “Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services.” The 2017 conference will have diversity and inclusion infused through its theme – “Many Hands, Many Voices, One MOPA.”


Montana Psychological Association (MPA) organized a one-day educational conference focused on issues of diversity. The panel shared their personal and professional experiences of microaggressions. MPA provided articles for a diversity column in the MPA quarterly newsletter. We coordinated with a tribal behavioral health program to invite their mental health clinicians to an MPA sponsored, two-day workshop. MPA facilitated an agreement with the University of Montana to provide two Native American, upper-level psychology graduate students an assistantship opportunity to gain work experience with a Native American population on a reservation.

New Jersey

At the 2016 fall conference, the committee on diversity and inclusion hosted a town hall on “Microaggressions: Why We Need to Listen.” New Jersey Psychological Association ( NJPA) leadership has been working hard at collaborating efforts with leadership in the New Jersey Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) and the Latino Psychological Association of New Jersey (LPANJ). In September 2016, NJPA hosted and participated in an “Undoing Racism Workshop” facilitated by The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. NJPA invited ABPsi and LPANJ presidents and representatives. The workshop focused on race and racism, and how it relates to poverty and class.

New York

New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA) developed a conference on microaggressions. A total of 11 talks were scheduled for this event. They introduced a motion to NYSPA council that NYSPA issue a statement in opposition of executive order related to the travel ban.


The annual Legislative Day Black caucus breakfast was well attended. Topics of discussion included a presentation on “Dealing with Difficult Constituents” by Cathy McDaniels-Wilson, PhD. A conference was held for special emphasis on diversity in clinical settings. James Dobbins, PhD, was the keynote speaker who spoke about applying culturally specific applications of family therapy for African-American families in therapy. The diversity committee was proud to be named the Ohio Psychological Association (OPA) Committee of the Year. The committee is currently planning a networking luncheon for this coming spring. The goal is to engage and invite psychologists of diverse ethnic backgrounds to engage with and take a leadership role in OPA.


The diversity division hosted two difficult dialogues concerning microaggressions in two different locations of the state. The diversity division held a formal dinner in conjunction with Oklahoma Psychological Association's annual conference and the chair provided a cultural gift both as a “thank you” and to provide education.


Texas Psychological Association continues to publish articles on diversity-related issues in the Texas Psychologist and electronic newsletter. The diversity division collaborated with social justice division and provided a cultural diversity professional development session at the 2015 and 2016 conventions. We have continued the annual student convention diversity award and diversity division social events after our annual meeting at each convention.